Virgin Money Unity Arena lineup announced

Virgin Money Arena

Following the announcement last week that the UK’s first socially distanced live music arena would be launching on Tyneside, its organisers have today confirmed a barnstorming opening line-up. Virgin Money Unity Arena will officially launch at Newcastle Racecourse, Gosforth Park, on Friday 14th August and Saturday 15th August THIS YEAR. Two Door Cinema Club will be the first heavweight headliner to … Read more

Soundwave Festival Review 2016

With an array of Croatian festivals on offer, we were hard pushed to choose which one was right for us, especially as we were trying to combine a festival with a holiday. Researching into Soundwave Festival, it seemed to have everything we were looking for; an eclectic range of music from hip hop, DnB, dub, jazz, house, afro-beat, reggae, funk and soul, chilled vibes, glistening blue seas, boat parties and oodles of relentless sunshine.

We arrived at Split airport in blistering heat on the morning the festival. With just over an hours taxi transfer to the historic old town of Tisno, we dumped our bags and walked along the scenic Dalmatian coastline to the site. After the naff British summertime and a bunch of soggy festivals so far this year, we were banking on this one to be ‘the festival of the 2016’.

Soundwave Festival

Now in its 8th year, Soundwave is spread over five days and three stages. Hosted by The Garden resort, this idyllic slice of paradise with a natural beach cove provides an intimate festival setting for 3,000 like-minded partygoers. Crystal clear waters lap around the beach stage while DJs play laid-back beats as people splash around on inflatables in the afternoon sun. As the sun blazed down the way to keep cool was to dip in and out of the water and sip on slush cocktails.

Seminal Soundwave attendee Craig Charles was always going to bring the party vibes to the island, and it was evident from the swelling crowd that this was one of the highly anticipated DJs of the weekend. Bringing the sounds of the summer in his record box, his set featured the very best funk and soul grooves. We danced the night away under the enormous glitter ball to D-lite, Earth, Wind and Fire, Rick James, 6ix Toys, Grandmaster Flash, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye. Craig’s 13-year-old daughter Nellie Rose stole the show when invited onto the stage to sing an incredible rendition of Michael Jackson's classic ‘Loving you’.

Craig Charles

Famished from dancing, we ate a late night pizza at the on-site restaurant Magnolia’s before heading back to the main stage to catch American rapper Pharoahe Monch. This is raw; no nonsense hip hop at it’s best, and he pleased the crowd by pulling out favourites ‘Simon Says’ ‘ ‘Oh no’, ‘My Life’ and ‘Clap’.

Friday daytime was more of the same, frolicking in the sea, lazing on the beach, craft ales, champagne corks popping, smells of smoked ribs from the House of Ribs and beats provided by French D.J, Russ Ryan, and Harri Pepper. Through the day we saw the live art program taking shape as street artists Artez, and Fat Heat created murals. More graffiti sprung over the weekend from the caliber of Smack184, Lunar, and Sebastian Velasco.

The sunset created stunning lens flares, and it was hard to pull ourselves away from the beach. We proceeded to the main stage to catch Eglo Records soul diva Fatima and the Eglo Live Band, followed by a powerful set by Akala who urged the crowd the jump to Double XL. He pounded out ‘Absolute’, ‘Another Reason’ and ‘Fire in the Booth.'  The main stage was closed by with the tribal beats of Clap Clap. Soon after the skies gave way to the most epic thunderstorm I've ever witnessed. The lightning flashes and sonic booms felt like we were caught in a war zone. 

Fatima and the eglo

No trip to Soundwave is complete without a trip on the good ship the Argonauty, and we were fortunate enough to bag tickets to the hip-hop boat party. Saturday lunchtime arrived and like many, we were giddy with excitement. In our eagerness showed as we queued up early to get a good spot on the authentic vessel. Punters climbed aboard with sailor hats and glittered faces. As soon as we set sail the champagne corks began popping, and the party got going. Beats provided by the DJs Menendez Brothers, DJ Mylz, TwoGood and beat boxers Bloxxed Beats. We sailed around the Adriatic coastline for four hours partying to hip hop classics from Kanye, Jay-Z, Pharoahe Monch, Nelly, Public Enemy, Snoop, Dr Dre, NWA, and Missy Elliot.  As the boat docked we partied harder, refusing to get off until everyone on the beach realised they had missed out on an unforgettable party. Friends were made, and hugs exchanged. This was undeniably the best festival boat we had been on and a sure fire festival highlight.

Later that day we caught a perfectly crafted sunset house set from LTJ Bukem on the Beach Stage, along with liquid drum and bass DJ Calibre. MC DRS urged revellers to jump up on shoulders in a bid to break Croatian records. I reckon he did a pretty good job.

LTJ Bukem

Sunday was even more laid back than previous days. Punters arose later after a night of hedonism in Barbarella’s Discotheque after party. The order of the day was chilled vibes provided by Kid Gorgeous and then picking up the pace Emerald and Shut the Front Door.

Sunday’s main stage action was provided by Eglo record beatmakers Henry Wu, Chunky and Alexander Nut, who’s sets crossed soul, jazz and hip-hop influenced joy. The generator packed up, and the site was plunged into darkness just before Gentleman’s Dub Club headlined. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long before it was back up. Leeds based Gentleman’s Dub Club have been steadily carving out a solid reputation as one of the UK’s foremost reggae bands fusing ska and dub influences. Lead vocalist Jonathan Scratchley bounced onto the stage to deliver the most exciting live performance we witnessed all weekend. The whole audience jumped in unison singing along to crowed pleasers ‘Music is the girl I love,' ‘Emergency,' ‘Fire’ and catchy chorus number ‘High grade.'

Gentleman's Dub Club

The final day we jumped aboard the Argonaughty for one last boat party. Riot Jazz, Taste The Diff'rence DJs, Chunky, and Rich Reason provided the perfect sound track to a blisteringly hot Monday. As we set sail on the sun-kissed waters DJ Cutterz, Stu Morley, and Misc Jockey span break beats, hip hop, soul & funk. Next up were Manchester based Riot Jazz, a nine barrelled Balkan to Brooklyn brass band who made the whole boat bounce up and down to their barnstorming, raw energy renditions of Britney Spears – ‘Toxicated’, Aha’s -‘Take on Me’, Human League’s – ‘Don't you want me baby. It was a perfect end to an incredible festival.

It's the balance of art, music and holiday is what makes Soundwave an idyllic and enchanting festival. It’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful locations in the whole of Europe, and with so many special memory-making moments with like-minded kindred souls, you can see why punters return year on year.

Lost Village 2016 Festival Review – a magical paradise

Mix up a multitude of techno-hungry ravers, a plethora of incredible DJs and artists, a dash of gorgeous woodland surroundings and lashings of the most weird and wonderful experiences you’ll ever come across at a festival. What do you get? Lost Village, of course!

In only its second year, the dreamland of Moda Black’s Jaymo & Andy George took place deep in the Lincolnshire countryside, kicking off festival season in the most enchanting way possible. I’ve been to many a festival in my time, and nothing quite made me as excited as this. With the likes of Ben Klock, Fatboy Slim, Bicep and Eats Everything – to name just a few – it seemed we were in for a hell of a bank holiday weekend. And God, were we right.

As we arrive at Lost Village, we felt a sense of flair and passion for what we all love; a good old fashioned rave. Perfectly honed and crafted in such a magical way, we’re invited to this story book world, where our only worries are to grab a well-priced wine, have a dance and enjoy the experience. Friday’s line-up was bursting at the seams – we arrived early, seeing acts such as Huxley and PBR Streetgang intensely warming up the growing crowds at the smaller stages, whilst Doorly over at the main stage Burial Ground, blasting out tune after tune to a slow-burning crowd who grew bigger and bigger by the minute.

My heart fell to the ground when I realised Fatboy Slim and Ben Klock were on the same night – we all know that clashing panic. Luckily, Lost Village had timings to perfection – at half 9 we were able to see the iconic Fatboy Slim take to the decks – and yes, it was just as epic as you might imagine. You really do forget all the classics that he did – Right here, Right now was one of the most intense dances I have ever seen, with crowds literally bellowing out those four words at the top of their lungs, bursting into a dancing frenzy as it dropped. Crowd-pleaser Eat Sleep Rave Repeat literally saw everyone jump rhythmically in the air, creating a wave of raving fists in its path. It seemed everything – even Praise You, was a lot more electronic than we’d imagine, but everyone lapped it up either way. A brilliant vision and an amazing atmosphere, which left us enough time to run over to the master himself – Ben Klock.

Now, I’ve seen Ben Klock a fair few times, and he will never fail to amaze me. The fact Lost Village had this incredible act in such an enchanting setting was one of the most surreal experiences. The Abandoned Chapel (a quaint, church-like outdoor zone) was closed, so Klock was moved to the more intimate setting of the Forgotten Cabin – a techno haven, surrounding by trees, lamps and shed load of ravers. Klock is well-acquainted with commanding any crowd he comes across; his deep, dark and ruthless techno echoing into the woods with crowds begging for more. The music couldn’t go on much past 1am – after an unreal final set at The Lookout stage with Bicep – but the crowds back at the campsite didn’t let the party end until deep into the morning. A perfect close to an incredible first day.

Saturday brought an eclectic mix of acts to the forest; Artwork took over the Abandoned Chapel at 3pm, delivering a disco set with none-stop movement from the crowd – a nice change from the techno we’d be hearing everywhere else. The sun was beaming as Heidi took to the stage – you only have to experience one of her Jackathon events to know that she always delivers. It was wild, lively, and what can only be described as almost tropical, emphasising her place as one of the greatest female DJs we’ve had the pleasure of seeing.

The beauty of Lost Village isn’t just the music; it’s the experiences. One minute we’re in a comedy tent, the next we’re doing Yoga near a lake, the next we’re getting our face thwarted with glitter at the Illamasqua tent (a delightful addition). You wander through the woodland at 1am and meet people from all across the country, the festival empowering its ‘Good Vibes Only’ stance and bringing together people who are here purely to have the greatest time ever. There were characters at every corner, a haunting parade of old-fashioned, torch-grasping woodland dwellers marching through the forest, two life-size rats nibbling at people’s food and even a stunning contemporary dance of fairies by the Lake of Tranquility. Not to mention the food stalls from around the world, and quite frankly the greatest pulled pork burger I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. For a boutique festival, the experiences were larger than life.

As DC10 resident Jackmaster finished a happy yet hardcore set at the Burial Ground, we got to see the big man himself. Introduced as “One of the greatest DJs in the world”, Eats Everything played “absolute bangers” as the guy behind me screamed – and he was right. He knew how to get people on their feet, dancing, singing, blasting our crowd-pleasers and putting on insane build-up tunes that mad everyone lower to the ground and jump up at all once. Huge fireworks were blasting over at the lake, and it was a completely surreal time to be alive – just none-stop, perfect, fun times. This was something special.

As the hangovers started to kick in, Sunday’s vibe was a lot more relaxed; bands such as Vitamin and Formation provided a calm and enjoyable atmosphere at the Lookout to rival the thumping beats from Enzo Siragusa at the Forgotten Cabin, while ex-Coronation Street and Red Dwarf legend Craig Charles put on a soul-filled and funky set to a surprisingly massive crowd.

Roman Flugel played a calm, deep and dark techno set at the Cabin – naturally accompanied by a girl in the crowd climbing up to the top of a huge pole, sliding down to a crowd of screaming ravers. It was surreal and intense, but we wanted something a bit different – and we found it in the form of headliner Jack Garratt over at the main stage. For those who don’t know, Garratt is a multi-instrumentalist and singer, who plays live sets in the most incredible way. Everything was recorded then and there, his music completely enthralling the entire crowd who had left the techno behind to see him play. The talent this guy has is absolutely unbelievable, and such an incredible sight to see. It was a bit different, a bit dreamlike, and a bit unbelievable – and that definitely sums up Lost Village to a tee.  

I can’t begin to put into words what Lost Village was like – it was an experience you have to see to believe. Magical, mystical and everything but normal, it’s an adventure like no other – next year, anyone?

Soundwave Announces New Names and Boat Parties for Summer 2016

Soundwave Announces New Names and Boat Parties for Summer 2016


  • Soundwave returns to Croatia for its 8th year this summer
  • New names revealed are LTJ Bukem, Congo Natty and Jazzanova 
  • 13 boat parties revealed taking place across glittering Adriatic Sea
  • Names already announced  include Pharoahe Monch, Calibre, Mala, Craig Charles, Fatima & The Eglo Band live, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Channel One Sound System, Riot Jazz, Romare and Harleighblu
  • Clap Clap, Akala, Josey Rebelle, Alexander Nut, Henry Wu, Dan Shake, Jordan Rakei, Harvey Sutherland and more in support
  • For full festival info go to
  • Festival runs from Thursday 4th – Monday 8th August

Soundwave Festival is arguably Europe’s leading intimate odyssey, a musical journey and sun-splashed adventure which takes place on the stunning Dalmatian coastline in the town of Tisno. The festival’s ethos is to do things a little bit differently, and each year it has continued to build a renaissance in Croatia unlike many other events in the region, cultivating a crowd who flock from around the world to what is as much a festival as it is a holiday.

The music is provided by the some of the world’s finest exponents of broken beat, reggae, afro to acid jazz, hip-hop, soul, funk, drum and bass, vocalists, rappers and more, and brings a soundscape to the region which is seldom heard, joining so many dots together into a beautiful single whole.

And with some amazing names already announced, Soundwave are very proud to announce three new additions who each bring a different element to the already wonderfully diverse collection of artists performing this August. Drum and bass pioneer LTJ Bukem is one of the UK’s most iconic names, with his Good Looking label embracing the jazzier, more atmospheric side of the scene. And leading the Jungle Revolution is the amazing Congo Natty; the lauded Rebel MC blends African-inspired rhythms and heavy urban beats in his rousing sets. And finally the revered eclectic collective from Berlin, Jazzanova, have been busy producing, composing, arranging, remixing and DJing for many years, continuing to create magic in clubs, the airwaves, their studio and live on stage, with their label Sonar Kollektiv one of Europe’s most respected. They join Pharoahe Monch, Calibre, Mala, Craig Charles, Fatima & The Eglo Band live, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Channel One Sound System, Riot Jazz, Romare, Harleighblu and many more names already announced.

Soundwave also is announcing its boat party schedule, with each show taking place on the legendary sea-dog, The Argonaughty. No visit to Soundwave is complete without taking to the sparkling seas, with sun-kissed and star-speckled voyages taking place day and night across the Adriatic. The run of boat parties is:




Plates Records & Circles.

13:00 – 18:00


Bedmo Disco, Origins & Harvey Sutherland.

19:30 – 23:00




Craig Charles, Bitesize DJs & Jack Tyson Charles



Channel One Sound System & Lively Up



Jazzanova / Manu & Ando / Russ Ryan / Tappa / MentĂș





Josey Rebelle / Menendez Brothers / TwoGood / Dj Mylz / Bloxed Beats



Alexander Nut, Fatima & Noah



Special Guest TBA, Bamboomann, Mo Fingaz & Bobafatt





With J-Felix, Harleighblu, Gilla


With Dan Shake, Flo Real & Jordan Rakai



DRS / Eva Lazarus / GDC Sound System / Rich Reason (LVLZ)





Riot Jazz, Taste The Diff'erence, Chunky & Rich Reason

15:00 – 18:30


Staff, friends & family, Dan Shake & Harleighblu

19:30 – 23:00


Soundwave takes place at The Garden Resort, a true slice of paradise nestled on the Dalmatian coastline. Blessed with crystal clear azure Adriatic waters, sizzling sunshine and star-lit night skies, the idyllic and intimate setting welcomes a global crowd of music lovers and adventure seekers to Tisno.

The site has the incredible water-side beach bar, where you are so close to the sea you are almost dancing in it, and cosy curl of beach which looks out over the bay. The site’s main stage is a little way behind, perfect for headline acts, and nearby nestled under the canopy of trees is the Olive Grove stage. It’s a beautiful location, everything built around nature, growing like the environment around it, rich with intimacy and a sense of wonder. And a short drive away is the incredible Barbarella’s club, a fully open air space, powered by Funkion One.

Thursday 4th – Monday 8th August 2016
@ The Garden Resort, Petrica Glava 34, 22240, Tisno, Croatia
Just revealed artists: LTJ Bukem, Congo Natty, Jazzanova 

Who join: Pharoahe Monch, Calibre, Mala, Craig Charles, Fatima & The Eglo Live Band, Gentleman's Dub Club, Channel One Sound System, Riot Jazz, Romare, Harleighblu, Clap Clap, Akala, Josey Rebelle, Alexander Nut, Henry Wu, Dan Shake, Jordan Rakei, Harvey Sutherland, J-Felix, Flo Real (Mahogani Music), Chunky, The Menendez Brothers, Werkha, Eva Lazarus, Bambooman, Sarah Williams, White Bobafatt, Mo Fingaz, Gilla, Russ Ryan, Jack Tyson, Charles (trio), DJ Mylz, Tehbis, Normanton Street, Chiminyo, Manu & Ando, re:tract, Rogan Emerald, Amber Sounds, Thirsty Work, Harry Pepper, Alex Crescent, Rogan, The Future Dub Project, Shanty, Olbi Iyah, Shuna Boston, Bloxed Beats, Sounds of Harlowe, French DJ, DJ E, Double D, TWOGOOD, Mount Nakara, In Search of Yard, Melt Out, Touchy Subject, Kid Gorgeous, South London Samba

Friends & family: Soundcrash, New Bohemia, Tru Thoughts, South London Soul Train, Firstword Records, Tuckshop, So Fresh So Clean, Goodlife, Shut The Front Door, Bedmo Disco, Circles The Origins, Bitesize, House of Wax, Sure Shot, P.U.S.H Plates
£125 for 5 days / boat parties £20 + BF / @soundwavecro

Over sixty more acts added to Liverpool International Music Festival

Liverpool International Music Festival announces its second wave of acts. Joining the already star studded LIMF Summer Jam line up will be Wretch 32, WSTRN, Clean Cut Kid, Craig Charles, Stealing Sheep, The Vyrll Society, Adele Roberts (BBC Radio 1), Greg Wilson, Ady Suleiman, the 20 acts that make up the LIMF Academy Class of 2016 and brand new LIMFxLaces Out! stage featuring a selection of Hip Hop DJs. 

Highlighting the festival's continued dedication to celebrating its rich musical pedigree and ever-evolving contemporary music culture will be the unmissable LIMF Presents series – seven artistically directed projects exploring the theme of 'Re-Definition' focusing on the music and movements that have redefined and are redefining popular music and culture. 'From The Soul' presented by Gilles Peterson will look at the evolution of British Soul over the past 30 years and will feature performances by Incognito, Omar, Carleen Anderson, Ady Suleiman, Swindle and Thris Tian not to mention Gilles himself. Liverpool's finest house music export, Yousef musically directs 'House Nation', a celebration of the international sounds of House Music, with a line up that includes Dennis Ferrer (Objektivity, NYC) from New York, Reboot from Frankfurt, HECTOR – VATOS LOCOS from Mexico City and rising luminary Lewis Boardman. Celebrating past and present of Liverpool music's counter-culture is '76-16: From Eric's To Evol' which will see incredible live performances from the Buzzcocks, Pete Wylie, CLINIC and many more. BBC Radio 1Xtra's Seani B directs a collaborative piece that sees British Reggae artists explore the redefining sounds of UK Reggae with 'Roots, Rock, Reggae'. Performers include Christopher Ellis, Carroll Thompson, Sweetie Irie and Kiko Bun. Whilst the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra will be taking over Sefton Park on Friday evening with a spectacular performance of music from the movies, and orchestral versions of some of the most defining songs that came from the city with the most enviable musical output. Expect hits taken from Cilla Black to The Beatles to Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

LIMF 2016 is made up of LIMF Presents, the award-winning LIMF Academy and Europe's largest free music event, LIMF Summer Jam. Last year LIMF attracted over 160,000 music lovers, cementing Liverpool's reputation as a must-visit destination and establishing LIMF as the current voice of this global music city with an experimental but accessible programme for all.

Yaw Owusu, LIMF Music Curator comments, "I believe every year we continue to improve on our artistic ambition and articulation. 2016's programme showcases this better than ever. We are celebrating the fact that our city loves music – whether it's diverse, cultural, new or well-known. With a programme full of outdoor concerts, club nights, intimate showcases and exclusive after shows, we are authentically spanning the true breadth of musical genres and cultures. This is our USP and what makes LIMF inherently different from any other festival – reflecting this city's true and ever-changing musical DNA. At LIMF 2016, we very much plan to provide Liverpool residents and the festival's growing national and international visitors, an experience they will never forget."

LIMF SUMMER JAM: Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd, Sunday 24th July – Sefton Park – FREE
Thanks to its eclectic line-up and the fact that it's totally free, LIMF's Summer Jam is widely regarded as the leading festival of its kind, with a huge range of activities to delight everyone from families to the hardened party-goers. Taking place at Sefton Park it will mark the start of the summer and the culmination of a spectacular series of events as part of Liverpool International Music Festival. 

Joining the already immense line-up including the likes of Sigma, Lianne La Havas, The Wombats, Ms Dynamite is the North London UK Hip Hop don Wretch 32. Fresh from releasing his joint mixtape 'Young Fire, Old Flame' with Avelino to critical acclaim, as well as having his recent 1Xtra 'Fire In The Booth' being credited as the best the show he's ever had by presenter Charlie Sloth, Wretch is sure to set the crowd alight with his inimitable brand of urban vibes. Joining him will be young RnB upstarts WSTRN, riding high off the global success of the chart smash 'IN2' who will without doubt delight the LIMF Summer Jam crowds. More new artists now announced come in the shape of local legend and music aficionado Craig Charles, Ady Suleiman and Radio 1's Adele Roberts.

Other stages at the LIMF Summer Jam consist of the Its Liverpool stage featuring Liverpool's finest exports, headed up by John Power and Friends and Michael Head with Clean Cut KidGreg Wilson,Stealing SheepThe Vryll Society and Cavalry amongst the new announcements. Further cementing LIMF's forward-thinking approach to programming will be the collaborations with Bido Lito! and the FROM LIVERPOOL WITH LOVE commemorating original Love guitarist Arthur Lee with a rare and special performance with Johnny Echols as well as a celebration of forgotten Merseybeat pioneers, Yes Indeed!.

Liverpool's iconic trainer festival, Laces Out! will curate their own area at this year's festival with the  sounds coming courtesy of some of the top Hip-Hop DJs in the North-West as well as some special guests yet to be announced whilst The Bandstand will see acoustic and mellow sounds from the funk, soul and blues spectrum. The LIMF Academy stage will feature all carefully selected 20 artists and bands, talented enough to make it through to be a part of the award winning LIMF Academy, and as always be the best place to see future stars in the making. In addition this year LIMF join forces with Liverpool Arab Arts Festival who will bring its popular Family Day to the Palm House in Sefton Park on Sunday 24 July, where internationally acclaimed acts will showcase the best in Arab music, including award-winning Swedish group Tarabband, boundary-breaking electronic, Dabke band 47SOULYaz Fentazi Trio, and Whirling Durvish / Sufi Mahmoud Pharaoh.

LIMF Presents…'Re-Definition' – a showcase of artists, music and projects that have and are redefining music and culture

From The Soul, with Gilles Peterson – Thursday 21st July 
Curated by 6 Music’s Gilles Peterson, LIMF explores the redefining sounds of British soul music over the past 30 years. The event will feature a special house band collaborating with some of the most important names in British Soul, namely Incognito, Omar, Carleen Anderson and Ady Suleiman. The live event will be followed by an exclusive DJ led after party hosted and featuring sets by Gilles Peterson, Swindleand Thris Tian (Boiler Room / NTS), which will bring three decades of Soul to the dance floor.

Gilles Peterson comments, “I've tried to programme the music for the night in tribute to the last 3 decades of British soul music, an era when the British sound has really come of age and what we hope to be a fantastic addition to Liverpool International Music Festival's theme of Re-Definition.”

Music City: Reimagined – Friday 22nd July
Presented on LIMF Summer Jam's opening evening will be the spectacular Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra performing a set entitled 'Music City: Reimagined', which will showcase many of the defining songs that came from the city of Liverpool and impacted the world. A fully orchestral set will feature music from Cilla Black to The Beatles to The Real Thing and will be a rare and unmissable night in the North West's summer calendar. 

Sandra Parr, Liverpool Philharmonic’s Artistic Planning Director said: 'We’ve been proud to perform at LIMF every year since it began and it’s been fantastic to see how quickly it's grown in scale, ambition and profile. Liverpool is one of the world’s great music cities, so our programme this year includes special orchestral arrangements of music by some of the many great artists our city has produced.”

House Nation in association with CIRCUS – Friday 22nd July
House music is truly a global phenomenon. In key cities around the world various dynamic producers are trailblazing a more progressive sound – redefining what you consider House  Music to be. LIMF showcases the House sound of four international music cities. Musically directed by Yousef the project will see the creation of some exclusive music reflecting the sounds of those different cities, which include New York, Mexico City, Frankfurt and of course Liverpool. The project will be documented, with both the music and shorts being released. It will culminate in a special live show, in association with CIRCUS, at LIMF 2016 featuring the incredible Dennis Ferrer (Objektivity, NYC), Reboot, HECTOR – VATOS LOCOS, Lewis Boardman and the founder of Circus, Yousef.

Yousef, House Nation artistic director comments, "It's been an honour to be asked to represent Liverpool and to connect our city's new world heritage music city status with other musically significant cities around the world. I've invited four of my good friends, colleagues and peers to join me from New York, Frankfurt, Mexico City and of course Liverpool; Dennis Ferrer, Reboot, Hector, Lewis Boardman and I are coming together to explore each of our city's musical histories. We've collaborated in the studio to produce music and behind the decks, looking ahead for an unmissable event in July."

76-16: From Eric’s To Evol (A celebration of Liverpool’s counter-culture) – Saturday 23rd July
For the last 40 years the punk-indie attitude has been prevalent in Liverpool and has led to the creation of some of the most influential cultural movements the city has ever seen. These are movements that have connected not just with the people of Liverpool but with the world. LIMF showcases those key venues, artists and scenes with live performances from the legendary BuzzcocksPete Wylie and CLINIC and more to be announced soon. This is the inter-generational story of Liverpool’s underground music scene and how it has  redefined itself in terms of music, fashion and popular culture over 40 years! 

Music Director Marc Jones comments, “Liverpool has always had a small but very important underground music scene. In 1976 Eric’s opened its doors and punk exploded into life, thanks bands like the Clash, Ramones and Sex Pistols who all played Eric’s! In many ways Eric’s has been as influential to Liverpool as both the Cavern and Cream have been and out of this scene came a set of Liverpool bands that went on to dominate the 80’s…bands like Echo & the Bunnymen, Wah! Heat, Teardrop Explodes, OMD and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. It’s a great tradition that has been continued by the likes of the Lomax, Zanzibar, Evol and the much missed Korova. It’s a great story and one we will be telling at this year's Liverpool International Music Festival through a unique live show demonstrating how it has redefined itself in terms of music, fashion and popular culture over 40 years!”

Roots, Rock, Reggae – Saturday 23rd July
It has been over 50 years since Millie Small reached number 1 in the UK with "My Boy Lollipop", and introduced Reggae to the British mainstream. Subsequently that first generation of settlers and their offspring carved out their own brand of reggae here in the UK and redefined the global image of the genre as a whole. From the birth of Lovers Rock, to the driving sound of roots reggae and the interpretation of vocal reggae, the British reggae sound added a considerable amount to the music scene.

This project will see award winning BBC Radio DJ Seani B (himself a Grammy nominated Reggae producer) curate a collaboration between British reggae artists Christopher Ellis, Carroll Thompson, Sweetie Irie and Kiko Bun.

BBC Radio 1's DJ Seani B comments, "I'm honoured to bring "Roots, Rock, Reggae" to such a prestigious festival as LIMF. Reggae has brought many amazing moments to the music scene in the UK, and continues to do so. I'm always amazed by the reaction it get on my weekly BBC Radio 1Xtra show every Thursday. I'm pleased that some of my talented illustrious friends who have helped shape that history of the genre will be joining me in Liverpool – from the son of an icon, Christopher Ellis, the queen of Lovers Rock, Carroll Thompson, to a man who has helped push the sound of reggae to bands such as Damon Albarn's Gorillaz, Sweetie Irie, and the sound of the new generation, Kiko Bun."

Yes Indeed!: A Celebration of Forgotten Merseybeat Pioneers – Saturday 23rd July
A uniquely curated live performance, where contemporary vocalists and musicians reimagine works by the forgotten pioneers of Merseybeat. Working with a range of emerging and established Liverpool artists, Yes Indeed! will reinterpret and update works by the Black pioneers of Merseybeat, celebrating and unearthing their legacy. 

The project will encourage cross-generational collaboration, bringing specially commissioned interpretations of these largely forgotten sounds to a new audience at LIMF’s “It’s Liverpool” stage on Saturday 23rd July. Helmed by the soul band The Equation, and featuring an enviable stable of vocalists, including XamVolo, Mersey WylieLevi Tafari, Edgar Summertyme, Amique, MiC LOWRY and Esco Williams, join us as we delve into Liverpool's untold musical past, channelled through its soul-infused artists of the present.

FROM LIVERPOOL WITH LOVE (Feat. Johnny Echols) – Sunday 24th July

Presented by Bido Lito! Magazine FROM LIVERPOOL WITH LOVE is a celebration of the music of Arthur Lee and Love and its connection to Liverpool, through the musicians and musical heritage of our city, a decade after Arthur Lee’s passing.  

Original Love guitarist – and Arthur Lee’s childhood friend – Johnny Echols makes the trip to Liverpool for a unique one-off performance, joined by a series of very special Liverpudlian guests. Musicians from some of our city’s most storied groups will join Johnny to play a show encompassing songs from Love’s three seminal LPs, including ‘Forever Changes’. This will be a once in a lifetime celebration of a very ‘Liverpool’ trans-Atlantic love affair.  

The FROM LIVERPOOL WITH LOVE performance with Johnny Echols takes place on the itsliverpool stage as part of LIMF Summer Jam at Sefton Park on Sunday 24th July 2016. The project will be launched a month earlier with a live Q&A between Johnny Echols and Bido Lito! Magazine’s Craig G Pennington on 25th June 2016. The Q&A will be hosted at A Small Cinema (Victoria Street, Liverpool) and will also feature a screening of ‘Love Story’, the 2008 documentary film about the group. Johnny Echols will also play a live show on the evening of 25th June with Baby Lemonade, as part of the Love Revisited tour, at Leaf Tea Shop (Bold Street). 

The first Soundcrash Funk & Soul Weekender line-up announced

Soundcrash presents… The Funk & Soul Weekender Camber Sands Holiday Camp – East Sussex, England 13-15 MAY 2016


Respected London event promoters Soundcrash are proud to announce the full line up for their very first UK festival The Funk & Soul Weekender, to take place at Camber Sands Holiday Camp Legendary funk, soul and jazz composer Roy Ayers headlines, joining 9-piece dub band Gentleman's Dub Club, American genre-defying electro DJ Afrika Bambaataa, Eglo Records' Fatima (plus Eglo Band),Tru Thoughts' Quantic, and carnival legend Norman Jay. Completing the line up, names added today include: the 23-year-old musician, DJ and record producer Catching Flies, hip-hop live band The Mouse Outfit, and the beats, rhymes and brass

From Funk to Soul, to Latin and Afrobeat to Northern Soul, Ska and Swing a touch of the right Hip Hop & House and everything in between, this new event on the festival calendar is an intimate affair, with a capacity of 3000, created for an audience that truly loves its music. Soundcrash programmer and founding director Rob Waller explains the event is in response to a renewed public interest in the funk and soul genres, with record numbers of fans attending shows for established legends such as George Clinton, Quantic, Tony Allen and Tinariwen. There's also strong and growing interest in a very vibrant new soul scene with artists such as Taylor McFerrin, Andrew Ashong, Haitus Kaiyote and Andreya Triana at the helm.

"Soul, funk, jazz, afrobeat and latin has all been at the heart of my booking for almost 2 decades; and although Soundcrash Productions – itself in its 10th year, is equally well known for itinnovative electronic, bass music and hip hop output (which crosses very well into these genres), I thought is was time to make a special event specifically within the world of funk and soul for 2016.”

Soundcrash has also announced some fun and unique experiences as part of the event, including Live Band Karaoke, DJs, Brass Bands, Music Quizzes, Northern Soul Dance Classes, South London Soul Train Stage, and Live Brass Band Soundtracked Crazy Golf Tournaments. Warming up for the festival, associated club nights and DJ’s from the country's finest Soul nights, including Move On Up and Soul 45, will be promoting parties in the lead up to the big event. This is set in the picturesque Camber Sands holiday camp in East Sussex, a mere hour's train journey from London. Chalet accommodation (catering for 4-6 people) is included in the price of Get your dancing shoes packed and we hope to see you in Camber!

Tickets available now:


Soundwave Croatia – First wave line up announced

Sound-tracked by the some of the world’s finest exponents of broken beat, reggae, afro to acid jazz, hip-hop, soul, funk, drum and bass, vocalists, rappers and more, the festival is a harmonious and beatific odyssey which seamlessly merges a sublime holiday and musical escape like no other. Soundwave is revered for its eclectic range of bookings and its laid back attitude, which come together in an enchanting adventure by the sea, exploring a range of music seldom heard in the Adriatic region. It’s a journey which explores a different path to many of the region’s other festivals, a little more edifying and spiritually enriching, set under the sizzling Croatian sun and star-lit skies.

The headliners for Soundwave have now been revealed. While a member of the New York City duo Organized Konfusion, Pharoahe Monch developed a reputation as one of underground hip-hop's preeminent lyricists, crafting intricate and intelligent raps with partner Prince Poetry. He is also an incisive political and social commentator, using hip-hop as a platform for political engagement. Calibre is responsible for some of the most beautiful and sublime tracks in drum and bass. Releasing on only the most distinguished labels, including his own Signature Recordings, Calibre’s distinctive sound has progressed taking on elements of jazz, funk, dub and techno whilst losing none of its esteemed soul.


Many more great artists join the festival. Digital Mystikz’s Mala returns with a heavy dose of bass-shaking dubstep, whilst one of 6 Music’s lead presenters Craig Charles, a funk and soul DJ and prime instigator of good times, makes a very welcome return. Fatima & The Eglo Band perform live; soul star Fatima has worked with everyone from Floatings Points, Shafiq Husayn (Sa-Ra) and Dam Funk, and the band are drawn from performers from the famed Eglo label. Still on the live side, Gentleman’s Dub Club will deliver their energetic and exhilarating live show, emerging from the UK reggae and bass music scene as its prime exponents. Channel One Sound System have been at the Notting Hill Carnival for over 30 years and are the UK’s most prominent and respected reggae crew; the Red Bull Culture Clash winners are set to bring ground-shaking bass to Tisno.

Back to genre-skipping delights, the Riot Jazz Brass Band bring peace-lovin’ aggro jazz, hip-hop samples, funked-up favourites and re-interpreted dubstep too, dropping drum and bass and dancefloor bangers that always have everyone dancing. Romare sublime cut ’n’ paste style blends Afrocentric beats and global inspirations, encapsulated in his brilliant Projections album; this also translates into bouncing party sets of the highest order. And the incredible voice of Harleighblu is set to enchant, the young singer and songwriter one of the UK’s brightest new names. Clap! Clap! is the project by the Italian producer C. Crisci. His focus is around sampling African tribes, bands and singers, creating tribal rhythms through drum machines and synths. And BAFTA and MOBO award winning artist Akala is a rapper with heart, soul and steel, a historian who brings a touch of lyrical grace and edge to Soundwave.

Rinse FM presenter and DJ Josey Rebelle’s house and techno spans across time and space, venturing into rare groove, soul and garage, and Eglo Record’s boss Alexander Nut brings his richly varied sounds to the festival. Henry Wu hails from 22a Records, a young label which has been causing a real stir. Their beautiful tracks are inspired by luminaries including Roy Ayers and John Coltrane to form jazzy, dubby soulful beats. Further names announced for Soundwave include Dan Shake, Jordan Rakei, Harvey Sutherland, Flo Real (Mahogani Music), Chunky, Werkha, Eva Lazarus, Bambooman, Sarah Williams White, Bobbafat, Gilla, DJ Mylz, Tehbis, Normanton Street, Chiminyo, CC Disco, Taste The Difference, So Fresh So Clean, Plates and Tuckshop.

The Garden Resort is a true slice of paradise nestled on the Dalmatian coastline. Blessed with crystal clear azure Adriatic waters, sizzling sunshine and star-lit night skies, the idyllic and intimate setting welcomes a global crowd of music lovers and adventure seekers to Tisno. The site has the incredible water-side beach bar, where you are so close to the sea you are almost dancing in it, and cosy curl of beach which looks out over the bay. The site’s main stage is a little way behind, perfect for headline acts, and nearby nestled under the canopy of trees is the Olive Grove stage. It’s a beautiful location, everything built around nature, growing like the environment around it, rich with intimacy and a sense of wonder. And a short drive away is the incredible Barbarella’s club, a fully open air space, powered by Funkion One, redolent of Ibiza’s formative early days. As dawn breaks and the sun slowly comes up, there is no place else like it. 


Pharoahe Monch, Calibre, Mala, Craig Charles, Fatima & The Eglo Band live, Gentleman’s Dub 

Club, Channel One Sound System, Riot Jazz, Romare, Harleighblu, Clap Clap, Akala, Josey 

Rebelle, Alexander Nut, Henry Wu, Dan Shake, Jordan Rakei, Harvey Sutherland, Flo Real 

(Mahogani Music), Chunky, Werkha, Eva Lazarus, Bambooman, Sarah Williams White,

Bobbafat, Gilla, DJ Mylz, Tehbis, Normanton Street, Chiminyo, CC Disco, Taste The 

Difference, So Fresh So Clean, Plates and Tuckshop

Thursday 4th – Monday 8th August 2016
The Garden Resort, Petrica Glava 34, 22240, Tisno, Croatia
£125 for 5 days (club and boat parties extra) / @soundwavecro

Wychwood Festival 2015 Review

Wychwood festival returned for its 11th year in the beautiful Prestbury Hills of Cheltenham. Set on the famous Cheltenham Racecourse, the location boasts great transport and parking facilities, while still being on acres of well maintained luscious land. The friendly atmosphere brings in a mix of all ages with its main priority focusing on a family feel. With activities including arts and crafts workshops and improvised comedy, as well as an eclectic range of music on offer it is easy to keep every member of the family happy. Although it is family friendly Wychwood does not compromise on the festival experience. With headliners from the funk and soul Craig Charles to the legendary UB40 there is music for all tastes.

Friday kicked off to a dreary start, but the rain and grey clouds soon settled into a delightful afternoon of blue skies with the occasional cold wind. This gave people a chance to seek shelter in the smaller tents which hosted a range of entertainment from acoustic sets to clay modelling classes and comedy. The biggest bar of the festival was inside the Hobgoblin tent, where americana/ folk band, Loud Mountains gave a stellar performance on the Friday afternoon. With awesome guitar riffs, catchy rhythms and clever harmonies, Loud Mountains gave the crowd a heartwarming performance which all ages could sing along to and enjoy.

With a huge selection of drinks, local ales and food stalls on offer- there was plenty of choice for all tastes. Tasty pulled pork, nutella smothered crepes, ostrich burgers and Mr Whippy ice creams were a few of the many popular choices that Wychwood had to offer. Despite the festival being well tailored for families, the Pimms and Real Ale was also flowing, with adults enjoying themselves as much as the children.

After the impressive set from Loud Mountains, it was over to the main stage for ‘The Undertones’ who played a set made up of more songs than many bands write throughout their entire career. It was a punk rock treat with the Derry band choosing to let their music do the talking as they treated crowd to songs like ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ and ‘Teenage Kicks’. The latter of the two songs brought almost a sense of relief throughout the crowd, as they played that ever recognisable riff. Once they had finished, it was time to prep the stage for the headline act, which left just enough time inbetween to check out ‘Darlia’ over on the second largest of Wychwood’s stages. 

Darlia– the Blackpool based 3-piece were really impressive. Walking around between the crowd, the words ‘Nirvana’ and ‘Kurt Cobain’ were mentioned so many times by onlookers, it gives a good picture of their sound. Sadly this somewhat draws away from the fact that the band actually have their own nailed-on balance of gritty guitars and catchy melody lines, which is almost an evolution of the Seattle grunge sound of old, without being at all tacky or clichĂ©. Their set was really impressive with the song ‘Candyman’ being a stand out favourite.

It was now time for the headline act for the Friday and much like the range of people who attended this fantastic little festival – it could not have been any more different! It was time for the crowd to go wild for ‘Boney M’. With their back catalogue of disco tracks, they entertained the masses with the likes of ‘Daddy cool’, ‘rasputin’ and ‘brown girl in the ring’ and at one point even played a rendition of Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman No Cry’. Boney M were 110% fun from the word go and played with the professionalism of a group that has been together for just short of 40 years. Maizie Williams  was the only original member who performed in this line-up, her star quality such that she stood out like a diamond. A great choice of headliner from the festival and a job well done from Boney M.

The weekend’s sun continued to shine down on Wychwood festival as the family-friendly vibes started up for the second day. The afternoon crowd which gathered at main stage for the Electric Swing Circus was a mixture of all ages and the band was the perfect fit for a such a varied audience. The vocal double act of Laura Louise and Bridget Walsh’s energy was infectious, and Guitarist Tom Hyland entertained the kids with his ringmaster attire and killer dance moves. But the band were not all about the visuals, as their ‘Electro-Swing’ music was Saturday’s real show-starter; a sound to match the diversity of the crowd with heavily sample based tunes backed up by solid double-bass lines and swing rhythms – it worked really well.


 A small break on the main stage was enough time for the crowd to multiply ten-fold for one of the most recognisable acts of the past 30 years – both visually and sonically! It was the turn of the Proclaimers to take to the Wychwood stage. Identical twins Charlie and Craig Reid played through their back catalogue as well as throwing in a few songs from their latest album. Their set was hugely entertaining and was a singalong from the beginning to the end. At one point, Charlie read out a dedication they had received before bursting into ‘Let’s get married’ – The dedication proved to set the scene for a marriage proposal on the front row and she said yes! The duo completed the song and wished the happy couple the best of luck before Charlie said (tongue firmly in cheek) ‘ Just the one time, I’d like someone to say no and for there to be a little fight in the corner.’ After many a classic, they courteously wrapped their set up with ‘I’m gonna be (500 Miles)’ before making way for the headline act – UB40’S Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue.


 UB40 Hoodies seemed to be the clothing of choice for many throughout the day and this was reflected by the size of the crowd for the headline act. Accompanied by a saxophonist, trumpet player and trombonist, the band stormed through a set of their classics, whilst also throwing in some songs from their latest albums. Starting the proceedings with ‘Here I Am (Come and take me)’ they flew through a hugely entertaining set including ‘Red Red Wine’ and even an Elvis Presley cover!

Sunday brought with it a tiredness to the crowds, but this was in no way reflected in the music with stellar performances from DJ Craig Charles and Rusty Shackle. Justin Fletcher also made an appearance on mainstage for the children and was received with much jubilation by the crowd.

The highlight though for Sunday, possibly even the entire festival, was the South African male choir group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Formed in 1960, this band certainly lived up to its platinum disc honoured status. With the ravishing harmonies and joyful atmosphere- every child to every adult danced in awe as the sun set amongst the Prestbury Hills. Gleeful children on parents shoulders waved their arms in time to the flawless rhythms of the choir. The uplifting experience worth watching in the flesh was definitely the best way to end a brilliant weekend. Despite the bitter cold of night, Ladysmith Black Mambazo had defiantly left a warm mark of Africa on Wychwood Festival 2015.



Common People 2015 Full Review

Bank holiday weekend in Southampton, all the cool kids are down at the beach right? Wrong. This weekend there’s a new festival on the scene brought to you by the wonderful wizards behind Bestival and Camp Bestival and it’s called Common People. Held on the beautiful Southampton Common smack bang in the middle of town, it’s easy to get to and find places to stay, family friendly and with an eclectic line-up sure to please each and every person in your squad.

Saturday sees the likes of George The Poet energising the main stage whilst the rolling thunder of The Portsmouth Batala band is going strong in the foodie area, and people are soaking up the sunshine and sipping pitchers of cocktails on the grass. Around the corner from the Uncommon stage hides the exciting kids area, featuring a tiny chair-carousel, a massive inflatable slide and a whole host of activities from crafts to stilt walking. A group of dads are also haphazardly trying to one-up each other with their hula-hooping skills.

Over on the main stage The South Sea Alternative Choir are looking decidedly mod but are banging out some classic covers from the likes of The Beatles and Blur. The VIP area is awash with sunbathing bodies on the woven canopy beds and the arena is starting to fill up for the masked Ninja DJ, Jaguar Skills. Jag’s set starts out loud and heavy, mixing in his musical influences and pop culture references, The Prodigy’s ‘Omen’ makes an appearance, as does the festival’s (already much played) namesake tune ‘Common People’ from Pulp. Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’ gets a round of applause from the Dad contingent, and everyone loves a bit of Faithless ‘Insomnia’. It’s a powerful set, if a little weird to witness in the daytime, instead of a dark grimy warehouse. 

DJ Yoda is up next, a Bestival stalwart who usually has an incredible AV show, which was advertised but doesn’t seem to have materialised. Nonetheless, Yoda’s mixes are seamless and the guy just looks permanently happy. From Macklemore to The Sugar Hill Gang, Chic to the Sesame Street theme, DJ Yoda just knows how to deliver a great set.

Following Yoda comes De La Soul, who spend the first few minutes of their show joking with the crowd and calling “Can all the photographers, all the journalists down here, just put their cameras down for a second and put one hand up in the air… and get down” as well as teasing the VIP area saying “VIP? We don’t do that bullshit”. Their no-nonsense style brings out the gangsta in the crowd, and there are random gang signs being thrown up all over. 

Around 8pm appears to be dinner time in the south, as the queues stretch out in front of each food outlet, but the offerings are better than your average city festival. No dodgy burgers or disappointing noodles to be had here – it’s gourmet grilled cheese for us (brie, pear and walnut) from a little independent trader, washed down with a cocktail from the Day of the Dead Cocktail Bus.

Big Top headliners Waze & Odyssey are going off and the stripy tent is bouncing as the sun goes down. The Main stage welcomes firm festival favourite and long time Rob-da-Bank pal Norman Cook, also known as the epic Fatboy Slim. Bringing out a choir to intro ‘Eat Sleep Rave Repeat’ is a touch of genius and something completely special, even to those who have had the pleasure of seeing a Fatboy Slim show before. With his creepy white mask torn off, and signature Hawaiian shirt out and proud, Norm hypes up the packed arena with a host of hits and mixes at ear-bleeding levels, and everyone loves it. There’s something pretty exciting about seeing parents and teens raving alongside each other, covered in neon paint and totally lost in the music together. Giant inflatable balls are thrown out for ‘Right Here, Right Now’ and the crowd is going absolutely mental. Finishing up with lasers and another choral rendition of ‘Praise You’, it’s clear that Fatboy Slim has made Common People his own, and to top it off a barrage of fireworks breaks out as the sitewide exodus into town begins.



Read our Fatboy Slim review here

Sunday starts out a little cooler and there are decidedly less people in early, though judging by the state of some of last night’s revellers, that may be down to hangover recovery in nearby hotels and homes. Over on The Uncommon Stage a decent crowd has gathered for young bid-winners The Costellos who thank everyone for coming out to see them, before diving headlong into a fun and energetic set.

People are dancing on benches and drinking cocktails out of hollowed out watermelons over at the Day of The Dead bus, whilst the West End Kids put on a great main stage show. It’s a pretty clever and creative idea for the early slot at a festival actually, something that is lively and entertaining but can be sat and watched, it’s a wonder more festivals haven’t yet tried it. DJ Craig Charles wants everyone to know that his alter egos from Red Dwarf, Coronation Street, Takeshi’s Castle and Robot Wars are ‘not him’, and that he’s just a DJ who loves to play funk and soul. Despite a bit of a mishap repeating ‘Uptown Funk’ at the beginning, it’s a set that dragged the masses from their bums to the front for a good old boogie.

Following on comes the unstoppable and lewd force of The Cuban Brothers. For those who’ve never seen them before, it is a life-lesson in exactly what the watershed exists for. The cheeky chaps bounce around the stage break dancing and throwing shapes like there’s no tomorrow, with a couple of big jumps and lifts from One-Erection and Kengo-San, some head-spinning and of course an almost-nude run around the gangway by Miguel. Archerio in a lycra fringed onesie is an image which could haunt a child, but luckily his moves are memorable and there are more than a few kids worryingly trying to imitate his twerking. Miguel carries a kids-only chant for “Kenny… the bastard” before making up his own little ditty about touching husbands’ wives whilst they go to the bar… #miguelitomumtouch. Yelling “I’ve had five punnets of nose-whisky” to explain why he can’t run for Mayor of Southampton, Miguel drops into ‘Mike for President’ and the crowd is loving it.

Next up, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis are joined onstage by enough equipment to power the London Philharmonic, which they swap and change frequently. They do a good job and play some truly beautiful music, but in terms of atmosphere, it is a bit of a comedown after the wild abandon of The Cubans. Hot band of the moment, neo-punk rockers Slaves strut onstage and launch into an aural assault of drums and riffs that would be right at home with Vyvyan and Rick from The Young Ones. Gurning like bosses they get everyone amped up, but it might be a bit more of a style over substance situation. At least ‘Cheer Up London’ is an anthem for those who’ve travelled down from the city.

Stand out performance of the day goes to BBC Sound of 2015 winners Years and Years. The unassuming electro-popsters take to their first ever festival main stage and completely blow everyone away with their mix of soulful style of house beats and beautiful vocals. ‘Titus’ and ‘Eyes Shut’ have the (extremely young and female) front row screaming at the highest pitch, and when lead singer Olly really gets into it and winds down to the stage – the mood is electric. New single ‘Shine’ is a surefire hit, and their already fan-favourites ‘Real’ and ‘Kings’ are standalone incredible. 

Band of Skulls bring a rock and roll edge to the proceedings with ‘Hoochie Coochie’ and tell the crowd “We’re so proud to be here for the first Common People, thanks to Rob for inviting us, we hope this goes on for a very long time”. ‘Sweet Sour’ is raw and brilliant, but ‘The Devil Takes Care of His Own’ is the standout song of their set.

Up next Clean Bandit clearly have a following as a slight delay sees people chanting for them to come on, and ‘Come Over’ gets a warm welcome as we say goodbye to the last snippet of sun-sun-sun-sunshine for today. Jess Glynne collaboration ‘Rather Be’ is the final song of an amazing set, and seems like a perfect sentiment for a Sunday afternoon of revelry, especially considering it’s a bank holiday tomorrow. 

As a black curtain is raised over the main stage, it’s time for the final act of the first ever Common People. The ever bonkers Grace Jones is a breath of fabulousness that comes from years of not giving a single eff what anyone thinks of her. Striding on in an ensemble that can only be attributed to the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes, and high heels, Jones proves that she is the ultimate performer, gadding about the two layer stage and winding with an extremely buff male pole dancer. Hits ‘La Vie En Rose’ and ‘Pull up to the Bumper’ go down well, but it’s her combination of ‘Slave to the Rhythm’ and her mad hula-hooping skills that set the night alight. Grace Jones has been there, done it, got the tshirt and discarded it for a thong. As the fireworks explode over the Common, it’s clear that Rob-da-Bank and crew are onto another winner. With Bestival, Camp Bestival and Bestival Toronto all still to come this year, Southampton has had the first tasty smackerel of this summers’ winning formula, and it is spectacular.

Read our review of Grace Jones here



Craig Charles and Andy Kershaw added to Wychwood 2015 lineup

Soul and funk maestro Craig Charles is back by popular demand, armed with an extensive collection of dance floor hits to raise the beats and bass of the Big Top attracting thousands of Wychwood revellers to dance the Sunday away. Excited to be invited back, Craig comments, “We Play funk & We Play Soul, 3rd Year back at Wychwood Festival’s Big Top, lets have it!”. Saturday's Big Top invites another legendary DJ to take to the stage with Andy KershawThe much lauded DJ started his broadcasting career at Radio One in 1985 where he presented for 15 years delivering an incredibly eclectic range of music inviting dance fans to enjoy his irresistible tunes that span Soukouss to salsa, roots reggae to Rai, Soca to South African Township Jive. Speaking about his Wychwood debut Andy says, "I'm thrilled and flattered to be invited to DJ at Wychwood this year. Many friends have told me it's a delightful festival and the perfect gathering, with the best crowd, for me to get the place jumping to some red hot African and Caribbean dance music."

CBBC favourites Dick and Dom have reigned supreme on television becoming pan-generational household names. Entertaining children and parents up and down the country for the past seventeen years with their unstoppable range of comedy sketch shows and silliness they are now the most recognisable children's television presenters. The pair are responsible for the BAFTA-award-winning Dick and Dom in da Bungalow and BAFTA nominated Diddy Movies as well as authors in their own right with Slightly Naughty But Very Silly Words and the hilarious new handbook Whoopee Book of Practical JokesThe dynamic duo head up Wychwood’s very own Children's Literature Festival in association with Waterstones, with an interactive show. The rest of the programme will be coming soon.

London based promoters Smashing Blouse who take the reigns of the The Big Top, have announced their second wave of artists. Famous for showcasing the best in up-and-coming artists, previous years have seen Bipolar Sunshine, Wolf Alice and Kyla La Grange all perform Wychwood. This year Ghostpoet and Fickle Friends will be joined by Black Honey, Ted Zed, Jamie T's tour support, Palace and Zane Lowe's future radio of 2015, Demob Happy